Steve Lebling

Steve Lebling

After graduating MIT, Steve Lebling found work in construction but always wanted to find ways to be creative. When Colossal Cave Adventure hit ARPAnet it reignited his creative spark alongside Blank.

Infocom was the result of their collaboration. Their clever blend of humor, prose and programming talent earned them admission into Science Fiction Writers of America as interactive fiction authors.

Early Life and Education

Steve Lebling hails from Washington DC and attended University of Maryland before enrolling at MIT. At MIT he took an introductory computer programming course to fill in some gaps in his schedule but soon found himself intrigued with this subject matter.

After graduating MIT he joined Infocom where he helped to design their initial mainframe games such as Zork as well as helping develop other text-based titles within the company.

Lebling’s keen wit and skill at writing were acknowledged by PC Gamer magazine when they named him one of their 25 “Game Gods.” Based in Massachusetts with his wife, Lebling enjoys golf, hiking and biking in addition to appearing in several commercials for Heinz Tomato Ketchup and appearing as a star on short-lived sitcom TV 101.

Professional Career

Steve Lebling owns several affiliated companies that specialize in residential land development and commercial investment property. Since 1999, he has overseen various real estate ventures such as Amberlea Farm (78 lots), Goshen Oaks Center, Charlotte Hall Square and Franklin Office Park Warehouse Condominiums.

Lebling wrote games for multiple publishers outside of Infocom as well, including two humorous satires entitled Spellcasting 101: Sorcerers Get All the Girls and Leather Goddesses of Phobos. However, as PC gaming became more graphic-intensive and Infocom eventually faded into obscurity, leaving Lebling without much work or career prospects.

Luke Naphat recently secured roles on two F/X shows: A PERSON OF INTEREST and BOARDWALK EMPIRE! Additionally, he booked the lead role in an off-Broadway production of TREVOR: A NEW MUSICAL!

Achievement and Honors

Lebling and fellow Infocom co-founder Marc Blank have been honored by AIAS with a 2013 Pioneer Award in recognition of their exceptional contribution to games. Lebling’s pioneering work with text-based adventure games that focus on story and creativity instead of elaborate graphics has helped shape an entire genre, inspiring new generations of game designers along the way.

Lebling’s work at Infocom included creating or co-creating eight titles during his decade there, such as Zork I-III, Enchanter series titles Suspect Spellbreaker The Lurking Horror James Clavell Shogun among them. Furthermore he designed both mainframe Zork version as well as virtual machine that ran it.

At first blush, his sharp wit, prose and coding expertise made him one of two interactive fiction writers accepted into Science Fiction Writers of America in 1999. PC Gamer magazine later recognized him as one of its twenty-five “Game Gods.”

Personal Life

Steve Lebling was born and raised in Washington D.C. before attending Massachusetts Institute of Technology where he served in its Laboratory for Computer Science. Inspired by Colossal Cave Adventure on mainframe computers, Lebling joined Marc Blank, Tim Anderson and Bruce Daniels to write Zork, an interactive mainframe text adventure game.

Lebling was not only dedicated to gaming but was also involved with computer programming. He designed language parsers which recognized words based on their part-of-speech.

Lebling created his final title for Infocom in 1989: Shogun, an adaptation from James Clavell’s novel of the same name. When Infocom shut its doors that year, graphically dependent games had taken hold and Lebling went on to design GUI spreadsheet programs and server applications.

Net Worth

Steve Lebling boasts a net worth of $5 Million. Since 1990, when he established his initial company (an predecessor to Lebling Development LLC), Steve Lebling has been engaged in residential land development and commercial investment property investments. This company boasts an active pipeline of over 300 residential lots per year and serves as developer for numerous national builder accounts. Muddy Branch Square (85,000 square foot shopping center), Middlebrook Square (30, 000 square feet with seven pad sites), and Mirror Ridge Shopping Center are among their previous projects. In addition, Crabbs Branch Way Warehouse Condominiums and Franklin Office Park Townhouse Condominiums make up part of its warehouse condominium portfolio; additionally they own and manage various office buildings.

He served as President of the Montgomery County Students Construction Trades Foundation, as well as board membership on Reginald S. Lourie Center for Infants and Young Children.

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